Friday, June 19, 2009

City Commission Bows To Arts Council, Bans Bayfront Sculpture Gift

Instead of waiting for their scheduled July 6 meeting to determine the fate of the popular bayfront sculpture entitled "Unconditional Surrender," the Sarasota City Commission has already made the decision to refuse the proposed gift of an aging veteran to permanently place the piece near downtown Sarasota.

A commissioner, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, defended their decision. "While we realize it's an enormously popular attraction for people of all ages, my fellow commissioners and I found that most of our big campaign donors said that it wasn't really art and did not want the sculpture in Sarasota. And as elected members of this commission, we are duty bound to abide by the will of the wealthy."

A comment posted on the reader forum by one 'dbarthoemail' seemed indicative of the sentiment of the Sarasota Arts Council:

Although my major at Wesleyan was Western European Civilization. My minor was U.S History-a course I taught for many years at the high school level-and I loved it. I absolutely support commemorating historical events like VJ-Day. However-the Unconditional Surrender statue on Bayshore Drive is anything but a work of artby any standard. It's very size is an embarrassment. It's carnival like appearence is an insult to that defineing moment in our history. People are drawn to its clumsy-awkward immensity not what it represents. It denegrates and demeans the natural beauty of Bay Shore Drive. It should be permanently removed and replaced with something more dignified-something that truly honors that illustrious-memorable and profound event in our history.

To that end, the Arts Council has recommended--and the commissioners have given their tentative approval to--this "more dignfied" art installation "that truly honors that illustrious-memorable and profound event in our history," the conclusion of WWII:

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